As we all know, our industry has changed a great deal over the past couple of years. Instead of jumping on the “complaining train”, I have decided to shift my efforts to spreading some positive experiences to my network. So here is a recent hospitality experience I had in the wine region of New York State. Seneca Sol scores a 100 out of 100!

Like me, I would bet most of us don’t expect much anymore when it comes to good service, great food, or genuine hospitality. Probably 95% of the time I am disappointed wherever I go these days. It could be an expensive restaurant or ordering a sandwich at Panera Bread. For example, I just got a latte at my favorite independent coffee shop. They have lots of delicious looking, homemade muffins and pastries sitting out uncovered by the cash register. I saw a fly land on a few of them. Will I ever buy one of those? Nope. So, when I have the good fortune to experience something special, it really stands out for me. This is why I feel so compelled to tell you all about Seneca Sol…

Recently, my best friend and I were exploring the Finger Lakes region of New York state, and I convinced her to try this glamping place called Seneca Sol on Seneca Lake. We found it on I had always wanted to stay in one of these Safari-style, canvas tents like you see in those fancy brochures touting the benefits of spending half of your annual salary searching for wild animals out in Tanzania. As luck would have it, they had a cancelation for the Monday night that we happened to be in the area and so we booked into one of the four tents that they have. The other two units they offer are Teepees, but they were already reserved.
When we arrived, the owner Cameron came down to the hospitality tent to welcome us and orient us to the property. He was a gem. Cameron explained how things worked, where the restrooms and bathhouse were, what time the fire-pit got going, and when and where coffee appeared in the morning-followed by a continental breakfast. 

After our welcome visit, we wandered down the Pea Gravel path to our well marked “Oak” tent site. Our 16’ X 16’ white, canvas tent was like a posh hotel room! There were two double beds with beautiful bedspreads, nice matching pillows, a desk with director’s chair, luggage rack, end tables, battery powered lanterns (that charge your I-Phones) spotless rugs, a wing chair, a covered deck with teak chairs and a seasonal potted plant for our enjoyment. Honestly, they had thought of everything. I was really impressed in the first 15 seconds of stepping into our tent.

After unpacking a bit, and a short rest to try out the bed, I decided to go take a shower before we went out to dinner. The bathhouse is nothing short of a spa experience. There are two private showers with locking doors with luxury products, hot water, and the towels are really plush. After you leave the roomy shower area, there is a three sink community area with interesting wall mirrors and more hand towels and products that is spacious and immaculate. There are also three private flush toilets with locking doors. Off to the side of the bathhouse, there is a community outdoor kitchen with a grill, deep sink, picnic tables, and everything is covered by a sail shade.

After dinner we wandered past the roaring fire pit and wished that it wasn’t a damp and drizzly evening. It was fun to see the fire going though and imagine how nice it would be on a different night to be armed with a few Hershey bars, a bag of marshmallows and a box of graham crackers sitting around telling stories and eating Smores. Back at our tent, we zipped up all of our windows and crawled into our beds. There is no electricity or heat and the night was cool, probably down to 50 degrees or so, but Cameron assured us we would be warm enough and we were.
In the morning, we wandered over to the hospitality tent for some delicious coffee and real half and half. There were nice pastries, high quality yogurt, homemade granola, and ripe, seasonal fruit. The breakfast was self-serve and Cameron was not around, but we certainly did not need anything. I did call him to say good-bye and thank him as we were leaving. We had a nice chat and he let me know that this was their 4th season. He and his wife are open 6 months of the year and they do everything themselves. This made a lot of sense to me. When you have 6 units, and you handle every part of the hospitality equation yourself, you can provide a truly outstanding experience.
I cannot think of ONE THING that they could improve on at Seneca Sol. Check out their website at Seneca Sol Glamping. If you get to the Finger Lakes, do yourself a big favor and stay here. It’s a 100!